TransCanada Corporation announced on Thursday that its Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project has signed community and project agreements with all of the elected Indigenous bands along its pipeline route in British Columbia.  TransCanada image.

Coastal GasLink transports gas from northeastern BC to Pacific coast

TransCanada Corporation announced on Thursday that its Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project has signed community and project agreements with all of the elected Indigenous bands along its pipeline route in British Columbia.

The company says that these 20 agreements show strong Indigenous support received for the proposed natural gas pipeline project in B.C.

“This is an important milestone for the Coastal GasLink team,” said Rick Gateman, president of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project.

“When we first began this project over six years ago, our goal was to build more than just relationships with First Nations communities in B.C.; it was to build trusted partnerships, and that has made all the difference. We are grateful to these First Nations communities for this opportunity and appreciate the incredible support they have shown us over the years.”

The contracting and employment opportunities along with the long-term benefit programs set forth in the agreements were designed specifically for each community along the route, providing Indigenous groups with job opportunities and sustainable sources of revenue over the life of the project.

According to TransCanada, support for the agreements comes from the elected leaders of the 20 Indigenous bands indicated below as well as from several traditional and hereditary leaders within these communities.

The project continues to hold discussions with some hereditary governance groups and is optimistic that additional agreements may be reached in the near future, should the project receive a positive final investment decision from LNG Canada.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to what we can accomplish when industry and First Nations work together,” said Gary Naziel, councilor, Witset First Nation. “This project will provide jobs, contracts and financial benefits that Witset First Nation can use to enhance programs and initiatives for our citizens, such as language and cultural programs. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Coastal GasLink project toward these common goals.”

Indigenous communities with signed agreements include:

Stellat’en First Nation Saik’uz First Nation Cheslatta Carrier Nation McLeod Lake Indian Band
Saulteau First Nations Kitselas First Nation West Moberly First Nations Lheidli T’enneh First Nation
Nadleh Whut’en Indian Band Burns Lake Indian Band Blueberry River First Nations Halfway River First Nation
Doig River First Nation Wet’suwet’en First Nation Yekooche First Nation Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band
Skin Tyee First Nation Witset First Nation Nak’azdli Whut’en Haisla Nation

In addition to finalizing these agreements, the Coastal GasLink project also awarded approximately $620 million in conditional contracting and employment opportunities to northern Indigenous businesses this past July.

The project anticipates another $400 million in contracting opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses during the construction period, bringing the total to approximately $1 billion for B.C.